Not much different than the way Columbus interacted with the indigenous peoples he encountered while stumbling upon the West, SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. has decided to co-opt the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to do their dirty work for them and press a peaceful resistance to the unauthorized takeover of tribal lands by a corporation and turn it violent.
In early October, the Elsipogtog First Nation leaders claimed they had enough shale gas exploration in their territory and wanted SWN Resources Canada to leave. They announced they were reclaiming all unoccupied reserve lands and issued an eviction notice to SWN. The community around Rexton, New Brunswick erected blockades on the main road that was traversed by company vehicles.
According to the Indian Country Today Media Network;
At a media conference in nearby Rexton, Elsipogtog Chief Aaren Sock said that the lands, never ceded or sold, had been held in trust by the Crown—but that the trust has been betrayed.
“The original people of the territory, together with their hereditary and elected leaders, believe that their lands and waters are being badly mismanaged by Canada, the province and corporations to the point of ruin,” Sock said. “Now facing complete destruction, they feel that the lands are no longer capable of providing enough to support the populations of the region.”
These threats to their survival and way of life left the Mi’kmaq of Signigtog no choice but to resume environmental stewardship in order to “save our water, land and animals from ruin,” Sock said.
The morning of Thursday the 17th, RCMP officers, dressed in armored riot gear with snipers in the fields and forest, moved in to enforce an injunction against the Mi’kmaq and their barricades. Molotov cocktails were thrown at the officers and tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at the protesters. Some 40 protesters including Chief Sock and some council members from Elispogtog First Nation were arrested.
The standoff continues as supporters are flooding into the area from nearby Nova Scotia and as far away as Alberta.
Clearly this is no new story. It has been reoccurring throughout time, since well before Columbus opened the floodgates for European exploitation of the West. Resource extraction by any means, always leads to the destruction of not only the land but also the peoples who occupy that land, usually indigenous, poor and unable to represent themselves adequately. In many different ways, it destroys the Earth as a whole.
The First Nations in the Americas are just one of many on the front lines of this battle to save our planet and all of its inhabitants from the greedy exploitation perpetrated by elite board rooms around the world. Campus California and our sponsored schools, One World Center and the Richmond Vale Academy, are working hard to help with the aftermath of this behavior by helping those indigenous peoples most affected by global climate change, deal with their new realities. There are protests around the world hoping to stop this exploitation of our planet’s resources and peoples, including one on Monday the 21st in Minneapolis. If we can help stop these tragedies before they start, there will be less need for help with their consequences. Stand up in Solidarity with the Mi’kmaq of Elsipogtog. Stand up against greed. Stand up!